On the Lamb: Amsterdam 2012 (Part Acht)
The Bloggist Is Away

Our second day in Amsterdam was winding down.

Compared to our hectic first day, this day seemed tamer, but only in the sense that it had so far been less physically demanding. Yeah, we started off with harmless cheese, but we did follow it up with weed (sort of) and unlimited pancakes at sea.

I know what you’re thinking: Hold on a minute, you idiot bloggist… you already found the drugs, but where are the prostitutes?

I could answer that if my face weren’t so full of pancake.

In any language, the most important phrase to learn is ‘thanks’. I found out that saying ‘thanks’ in the native language always amuses the locals, especially if one looks and sounds irredeemably foreign. One does not even have to say it well… the expectations are so low that one would be rewarded as if one were a dog who just recited Shakespeare.

Most phrasebooks would list ‘bedankt’ as the (informal) Dutch expression for ‘thanks’. During this trip, I liked to say ‘bedankt’ after long conversations in English. This often elicited a short confused pause, followed by what sounded like polite gargling – apparently ‘graag gedaan’. It didn’t matter, though, because they would already then be smiling at this good little boy for speaking two syllables of their language.

“To be or not to be?” Who’s a good boy, now?

So there we were, this bloggist and the girl-beard, Joanne, back where we started the day before in Amsterdam Centraal Station. As evidenced by its name, Centraal indeed functioned as a central point for travelers.

And as shown on this traffic sign… wait, is that Batman?

The city’s historical center, however, is about three-quarters of a kilometer to the south: Dam Square. Not only is the Royal Palace located there, Dam Square is also responsible for the city’s name because it used to be an actual dam for the Amstel River. Some locals even refer to it now as ‘the dam’, which may seem unusual, as it is pretty much enclosed by land. Well, not so until the nineteenth century, when the major canal that ran through Dam Square, the Damrak, was (partly) filled in. The reclaimed canal has since become one of the busiest streets in Amsterdam. The Damrak, as it is still called, is also the main connection between Centraal Station and Dam Square. For all intents and purposes, the Damrak is Amsterdam’s Main Street.

And it has its own palace at the end too… what is this, Disneyland?

With the Damrak being a busy commercial street, Joanne and I found a few interesting sights in the general area.

Like whatever these running Cheeto-men were supposed to be…

The food establishments we found during our stroll were quite varied. There was a McDonald’s and a Hooters-type ‘American’ bar (next to a shop selling Belgian fries). I noticed a generous smattering of Argentinean and Uruguayan steakhouses. Of course, there was an ample allocation of kebab and falafel joints (being the West’s favorite food-on-the-go). Indonesian restaurants, possibly the most authentic outside of Indonesia, were also fairly abundant. For the most part, these were the only Asian restaurants with a specific nationality. The majority of the ‘Oriental’ establishments tended to offer pan-Asian cuisine (i.e. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese), making it clear that Asia was a single landmass with a homogenous culture… Asian people had always looked alike, anyway, haven’t they?

We refuse to reinforce that belief.

We didn’t see any Dutch restos, unfortunately. I was hoping to try croquettes, except I couldn’t find any past the numerous pizza joints. On that note, Italian food would be a recurring theme for our European trip – Italian restaurants were everywhere, and it was no different in Amsterdam…

They even have Italian plumbers selling stoner ware…

These ‘green’ lifestyle stores were aplenty, usually next to our favorite coffeeshops. This was the heart of Amsterdam, after all, and one would be constantly reminded of the city’s greenery culture. But what about the lechery, you ask? What about the “bedankt bedankt”? Didn’t I mention prostitutes a while back?

We’re getting there. In the meantime, here be some novelty condoms…


If you want the salacious CONTINUATION, please click here.

If you missed what happened immediately before, please click this.

If you want to rewind back to the start of the Amsterdam write-ups, please click this instead.

If you want to go through past TRAVEL pieces, please go here.

If you want to visit stuff about FOOD, please go here.

Categories: [food], [travel]

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